Forgotten Country is an Honorable Mention for the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award, an Indie Next Pick, a Booklist Top 10 First Novels of 2012, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012, Publishers’ Weekly Pick, Bookpage’s Top Fiction Pick for March and one of their Best Books of 2012, an O Magazine Must-Read, and an Elle Readers’ Prize Pick.


“Luminous and surprising…. Chung brings a gentle, special gravity to this Korean family’s tale of endurance… Her voice is fresh, her material rich, and “Forgotten Country” is an impressive, memorable debut.”
Mary Pols, San Francisco Chronicle

“In her gorgeous debut, Chung offers a heartbreaking story about sisters, family, and keeping traditions alive.”
People Magazine

“In Forgotten Country, Catherine Chung tells an inexpressibly beautiful story about a Korean family with a complex history… The story builds quietly, meticulously, and Chung does a masterful job of weaving the past with the present, incorporating mythology and memory in ways that both captivate and haunt. If you read one novel this spring, let it be Forgotten Country.”
Roxane Gay, at The Rumpus

“A lovely, aching story of families, loss, and love.”
Cherie Parker, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“…Chung indelibly portays a Korea viciously divided, but ever bound to history, myth, and hope.”
Celia McGee, O, The Oprah Magazine

“[An]… unflinchingly honest examination of grief, anger, familial obligation, and love….”
The New Yorker

“Heartbreaking and redemptive…”
Kathryn Lang, The Boston Globe

“… [A] masterful exploration of generational tensions within a Korean family on two continents. Chung is a remarkable writer… especially successful in the depiction of the intense cauldron of emotion between siblings.”
Lauren Bufferd at BookPage, Top Pick in Fiction for March 2012

For all its fullness, Forgotten Country treads with a remarkably light step. It will be praised as a novel of immigration, family, and coming of age. It is equally a formal success that bodes well for Chung turning to any subject she wants. Lucky us.
Sarah Malone at The Common

“…In a literary league of her own… [Chung] also deserves comparison to the likes of Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri and last year’s Man Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes. Forgotten Country is a perceptive exercise in the geometry of the mind, an homage to the traditional culture and mythology of Korea, and a bittersweet reminder of the mingled guilt and love older sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, owe to those who raised them and those whom they helped raise.”
Miriam Laufer, The DC Spotlight

“This lyrical tale filled with heartbreak and forgiveness illustrates the bonds that hold a family together.”

Sara Campbell, School Library Journal

Forgotten Country is a beautifully written, haunting novel… [that] flows exquisitely from the present narrative into the anecdotes and legends on which Janie and Hannah have been raised”
Jane Delury at On the Seawall

“Chung’s writing style reminds me of a fine painting where every brush stroke is laid down with purpose and control. …Chung knows her protagonist, and the strength of that finely tuned characterization carries the plot.”
Donna Chavez at BookBrowse, Editor’s Choice Book

“[A] beautiful debut novel…woven with tender reflections, sharp renderings of isolation, and beautiful prose….Chung simultaneously shines light on the violence of Korean history, the chill of American xenophobia, and the impossibility of home in either country.”
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Chung’s darkly luminous debut… delves with aching honesty and beauty into large, difficult questions–the strength and limits of family, the definition of home, the boundaries (or lack thereof) between duty and love…”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Chung’s superb debut examines the twin hearts of cruelty and compassion between sisters in particular and family in general…. This elegantly written, stunningly powerful, simply masterful first novel should earn Chung many fans….”
Booklist (starred review)

Catherine Chung’s Forgotten Country is a remarkable debut novel, one that profoundly explores our connections to family, friends, and homeland.”
Largehearted Boy

“It is a rare novel — debut or otherwise — that can sing at once with such tenderness and ferocity, with such intense feeling and exquisite restraint. Forgotten Country is just that book, poetically crafted, shimmering with hard-won emotion, and wholly absorbing. A superb performance.”
Chang-rae Lee, author of The Surrendered and Native Speaker

“A heartbreaking debut novel that will leave you quietly shattered in its wake. Forgotten Country is an exquisitely rendered account of a Korean immigrant family divided by two sisters, two countries and a curse that spans generations. Catherine Chung has written a haunting meditation on family loyalty and the lingering legacy of war.”
Julie Otsuka, author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine

“Catherine Chung’s unforgettable debut is a work of enormous talent and heart. A riveting, brutal portrait of two sisters in crisis, Forgotten Country examines the unspoken complexities of familial love and forgiveness, loyalty and betrayal, and renders an indelible, haunting image of Korea.”
Kate Walbert, author of Our Kind and A Short History of Women

“I was left utterly devastated by the wonder and heartbreak captured in these pages. Forgotten Country is overflowing with folktales and family secrets, with American and Korean traditions, with haunting prose and mathematical beauty. Here is a book to cherish, and to celebrate. When I finished the last page I made a promise to myself to be more fearless and fierce with my love; it’s that kind of book.”
Justin Torres, author of We The Animals

“Forgotten Country is so immediately and consistently engaging that it took a while for me to realize how artfully and beautifully it is conceived and composed. Catherine Chung may be a fledgling novelist, but she writes with the confidence and the devastatingly-honed skill of a master.
Peter Cameron, author of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You and The Weekend

“Catherine Chung is a writer whose first novel I’ve been waiting for, and her debut Forgotten Country, more than fulfills what I hoped for. A boldly imagined novel of Korea and America, of a curse between sisters, and a family trying to outrun a painful legacy that will not let them go. Chillingly beautiful and magnetic, unforgettable.”
Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh

“Forgotten Country is a richly emotional portrait of a family that had me spellbound from page one. Catherine Chung’s beautiful and wise novel will haunt me for years to come.”
Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Torch

“A moving and deeply personal story of a family caught between two very different countries and very different lives.”
Alison Lurie, author of Foreign Affairs